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Cabinet approves stricter sentences for traffic violations

The cabinet on Friday approved stricter penalties for certain traffic violations including vehicle seizures for certain offences.

Speaking after the meeting, Justice Minister Ionas Nicolaou said the state had exhausted all other means of getting the message through to people regarding road safety but it was time for stricter measures.

“There is a need for more drastic measures like increasing the penalties,” he said. “This way the right message will get through.”

Included in the bills is an increase in the fines for speeding from €1 per kilometre to €5; using a phone while driving will fetch a€300 fine instead of the current €85.

Failure to wear a seatbelt will cost €400, also up from €85.

Not wearing crash helmets on motorcycles, running red lights, and parking on pedestrian crossings and spaces reserved for handicapped drivers will cost €200 from €85.

“We have introduced a combination of offences in the legislation like speeding while under the influence of alcohol. They must face the full brunt of the law,” the minister said, adding that the increases were viewed as a deterrent.

Drivers involved in hit-and-runs where a person was killed will be looking at manslaughter charges whose maximum penalty is life in jail.

For serious offences, the bills provide for offenders to face court in 24 hours and a driving ban. Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol would see the vehicle seized. The minister did not specify the duration.

The bills, which are the product of consultations with all interested parties will be sent to parliament for approval.

“This is a matter that concerns all of us and we ought to tackle this situation together,” he said.

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